Golf can be fiercely competitive.
But between three leaders —Andrew Yun, Michael Putnam, and Brian Thornton — in the final round of the Tacoma Open at Meadow Parks Golf Course, it was the opposite.
The smile that appeared on each of the players’ faces as they were updated on the Seattle Seahawks score against the Denver Broncos by nearby spectators shows that it’s not always about the competition and winning.
But Yun — who had been playing at Meadow Park ever since he started playing golf at age 7 — was probably smiling on the inside, too, for that very reason.
Yun shot a 65 in the final round to win the inaugural tournament, to finish with a total of 198 strokes (15 under par).
“I’ve played this course so many times growing up. I’m so comfortable out here,” said Yun, who played at Bellarmine Prep and Stanford. “That was a huge advantage. I’ve been in every single possible place on this course. Like I said, that’s just a huge comfort being able to lean on that and just play golf.”
Putnam finished second — shooting a final-round 69 for a total of 202 — while Thornton shot a 72 and finished fifth at 206.
Puyallup’s Derek Barron and Fircrest’s T.J. Bordeaux tied for third with a total of 205.
Yun claimed the grand prize of $10,000, while Putnam and Thornton walked away with $3,000 and $1,250, respectively.
“I can’t really describe it in words yet. It has sunken in,” Yun said. “Just to have a tournament here at Meadow Park, it was kind of my old stomping grounds. It’s just nostalgic.
“It’s probably one of the most significant tournaments I’ve ever played in.
A number of Yun’s friends and family watched as he carried a two-stroke lead over Putnam to the 14th hole. Yun placed his second shot on the par-4 within two feet of the hole and finished with a birdie.
Putnam three-putted the hole to fall four strokes out of the lead back from the lead by four strokes.
“Andrew played well all day. He’s a great player, looking forward to him getting through Q-School, getting (Web.com Tour) status, and getting on the PGA Tour,” Putnam said. “Obviously, I didn’t play my best round of golf today. But I would have had to play really good to beat him. He played great, he deserves it — he’s a fitting champion.”
Like many players before him, Sumner’s Thornton was troubled by the difficult placement of the pin on 14, which was positioned only a few feet from a difficult downhill slope. He thought that Yun’s play on the hole was key to his win.
“He didn’t hardly miss a shot, he made everything he should have made and played well on the two holes that were really the story of the tournament — 12 and 14,” Thornton said. “He makes birdies on probably the two toughest holes that we’re playing. Geez, hats off to him.”
Putnam entered as the headliner professional. He hopes next year there will be an expanded field for the tournament, which began just as an idea three months prior by Jason Follen and Ryan Welborn.
“It was great,” Putnam said. “Good support, the field is only going to get bigger, stronger, and better, and play for more money, and show Tacoma what professional golf is all about.”